gold coast ocean swimming
Just past the breakers as we set off
stephen cornelius of Gold Coast open water swimming club
Stephen Cornelius looking very cheerful as he gives me some stroke correction tips

Gold Coast Ocean Swimming

Some swimmers can just look at a beach, assess the conditions, decide exactly where to swim and then plunge through the surf to swim cheerfully alone. I am not one of them. So when I visit a new place, I am keen to swim in a shoal of swimmers, or at least not alone. Luckily ocean swimmers are friendly and non more so than Stephen Cornelius, the brains behind the Gold Coast Open Water Swimming Club

The GCOWSC meets most days at Kurrawa Surf Club at Broadbeach at 9.30am weekdays, and on Saturdays at 8am. I turned up one Monday, found that parking was easy and I introduced myself to Stephen Cornelius and swam with him that morning. For me, getting out through the surf was pretty hectic but manageable and then the swim south was just sublime, thanks to Stephen for slowing down for me.

This group looks at the sea conditions and then decided whether to swim north or south, depending on the sweep of the ocean current. They might walk one way and then get started, or start where they meet and walk back along the beach after the swim. They stop to regroup every 500m and swim between 1.5km to 3km usually. Swimmers can go into the beach earlier if they prefer. I just turned up, having joined the Facebook group first. Check out these ocean swimmers on Facebook at the GCOWS page here and join the GCOWS Facebook group here.

If you are visiting the Gold Coast and looking for other coean swimmers, the GCOWSC are a friendly and supportive group. There is also the group called the Burleigh Ocean Social Swimmers which meets every Sunday morning, read more on their Facebook group here.

Find Gold Coast ocean swim races on the Oceanswims website here, or on Oceanfit here.

gold coast aquatic centre seen from a helicopter
The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre – seen from a helicopter

Gold Coast Aquatic Centre

Set within the extensive Broadwater parklands, right alongside the huge expanse of Broafwater itself, the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre is a hub for Gold Coast swimmers and the training facility for many well-known athletes. And I had a swim too. I was staying very close by at Southport so it was just a five minute drive away, it would be a 10-15 minute drive from Surfers Paradise in light traffic.

At GCAC you will find:

  • 10-lane, 50m heated outdoor competition pool
  • eight-lane, 50m outdoor training pool
  • seven-lane, 25m outdoor program pool
  • outdoor dive pool, with diving boards at 1m, 3m, 5m, 7,5m and 10m.
  • indoor 10m by 15m learn to swim pool
  • indoors children’s splash and leisure pool
  • 300 square metre indoor dry dive facility
  • hot and cold hydrotherapy pools

Do check the website as some pools do close for compeititions.

Address: Marine Parade, Southport

Phone: 07 5582 8282

Gold Coast Aquatic centre website

gold coast aquatic centre training pool
A quiet pool in the late afternoon, heaven
diving pool at gold coast aquatic centre
Divers training in the diving pool
swimmers at gold coast aquatic centre
Catch me if you can (I couldn’t)
swimming at gold coast beaches rainbow bay
Beautiful Rainbow Bay at the very southern end of the Gold Coast

Gold Coast Beaches

Ah, where to start? You can find any sort of beach you like at the Gold Coast. The phot above is of Rainbow Bay which is at Coolangatta in the extreme south. This is a magical little beach, with a bit of surf and plenty of surfers when I visited. You could joyfully swim laps of the beach, or just guddle about happily.

swimming at snapper rocks at the gold coast
Just beside Rainbow Bay you can find Snapper Rocks with this divine swimming hole, best at low tide. Not a place for serious swims but a glorious place to relax in the water
Another photo of Rainbow Bay. Yes, I fell in love

Up in the north the long sandy beach running from Main Beach to Burleigh Heads has life guards and flags every 500 metres where you can swim, splash, body surf and boogie board.

Broadbeach to Main Beach – looks awful, doesn’t it? Photo credit Destination Gold Coast
Sunrise along the beach – swim between the flags! Photo credit Destination Gold Coast

The beach at Burleigh Heads is also divine, and there are several surf beaches south of there which are good for swimming too. And then there are two sheltered creek areas, with no surf you can get in long swims here.

tullebudgera Creek swimming at gold coast
This is Tullebudgera Creek just south of Burleigh, there’s a car park on the south side. of the creek. Currumbin Creek is also worth checking out for a swim. Photo credit Destination Gold Coast

Gold Coast Swimming Lagoons

There are several swimming enclosures on inland waters around the Gold Coast. I only saw the one at Southport myself however found this article which lists them all. Have you been to any? I will investigate these more on my next visit.

Read about the Gold Coast Swimming Lagoons here.

Curtis Falls at Tamborine Mountain. Photo credit Destination Gold Coast

Gold Coast Waterfalls

The Gold Coast Hinterland is famous for its waterfalls, some of which are good for swimming. Not that I have visited any but the Hinterland is definitely on my get-there-soon list.

In the meantime, check out this article from Destination Gold Coast: Five Gold Coast Hinterland Waterfalls

You might also like to look at: Top Seven Gold Coast Waterfalls

In the southern area of the Gold Coast, not too far from the ocean, you can drive inland to swim at Currumbin Rocks Pool and Cougal Cascades.

Gold Coast Snorkelling: Turtles at Cook Island

I am telling you, snorkelling counts as swimming. One of the highlights of my Gold Coast foray was joining these ancient and magnificent creatures at Cook Island, just south of the New South Wales border.

Watersports Guru

Watersports Guru website is here.

Address: 10 Lighthouse Parade Fingal Head NSW 2487 Tel:

Phone: 0430 082 890

Can you share any other favourite Gold Coast swimming spots with readers?

Would love to hear of more good swimming spots up there in Queenland.

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